Barber Industry Interview – Guest Judge Ben Drewry

It was a pleasure having successful barbershop owner Ben Drewry, who is also a former London School of Barbering student join us as guest judge at our buzzing fade competition on Friday 13th April. Ben took our NVQ 2 Diploma beginner course and shot to success with the opening of his own barbershop ‘Drewrys Barbers’, shortly after graduating with us. After building solid barbering foundations here at London’s leading academy; London School of Barbering. 

Ben has since gone on to set the standard in barbering on the Isle of Man with his top class barbershop. As Ben expresses, he really put the Isle of Man on the map for barbering, as it was an industry that wasn’t that big. Ben is foolproof that with drive, hard work and determination, the sky is the limit with what you can achieve in the barbering industry. Ben’s story of his barber career definitely enlightened all of our students, who are about to embark on their journeys into the industry as professional barbers.

Ben was amazed at the quality of the haircuts combined with the speed and professionalism that our students showcased during the fade competition, not to mention performing like top barbers under the pressure of having an expert eye watch over them. Ben could definitely see the potential for barbers for the future with our students, while he was closely checking the details of their haircuts and chatting to them as well. Ben talks about his career before he became a barber, his progression studying at London School of Barbering, his proudest moment so far as barber and LSB’s approach to training in a functioning barbershop, among other things. Read his exclusive interview below:

LSB: What is your name and where do you work?
BD: My name is Ben Drew and I work at Drewrys on the Isle of Man.

LSB: What were you doing before barbering?
BD: Before I got into barbering, I was a fully qualified tree surgeon for about three years. I just fancied a change and like I cut a friend’s hair in my kitchen one night and it turned out ok and I was like ok yeah I’ll do this.

LSB: Were you worried about starting a new career?
BD: Hmm..I’m quite a confident person with everything I do, so no I wasn’t. I quite enjoyed the fact that I could take a risk and start a new career.

LSB: How did you learn the trade?
BD: I got into barbering through applying for a course with London School of Barbering. I found this through the internet, after quite a lot of searching. The course I took on was the NVQ level 2 cause at the time that was the course that they offered and so I took it. The year I took that course was late 2014. The challenges with the course for me, I found it all challenging, cause it was completely new to me. So as a complete newbie, yeah everything I was being told, it was all new. It was nothing I’ve ever done before, but no it was perfectly structured for me to be a complete beginner and leave me get to where I am today.

LSB: Describe your progression as a student at LSB?
BD: As the course went on, week one week two, I felt completely out of my depth. But then as with everything, with time I progressed naturally, I think. I paid more attention as the more information you were getting told to take in, you naturally just wake up a bit more I think and the course just developed for me and I just carried on with it and it was fine for me, yeah!

LSB: What has been your proudest moment so far as a barber?
BD: My proudest moment as a barber, since I’ve left LSB is going back to my hometown on the Isle of Man and bringing a high standard of barbering which I’ve learned from London School of Barbering and bringing it back home and putting the Isle of Man on the map in an industry that it wasn’t really known for at all.

LSB: What would you say to someone starting their career studying their career studying at LSB?
BD: If anyone is considering a barbering career, from my experience I would definitely make sure it’s something you want to do because you’re in for a hard time if you’re not ready for it. There’s a lot to learn, there’s a lot to take…I wouldn’t lie to anyone that approached me and asked about getting into barbering. I would hundred percent take them to LSB, as I have for a new member staff who starts to LSB on Monday. So, if you really want to do it, yes 100%, it’s 100 percent worth it. But you have to know it’s what you want to do as it is hard work.

LSB: Did you research other courses before attending LSB?
BD: London School of Barbering’s selling point for me was the whole package. What came with it, the educators, the course, the process, it was like an all-in-one package. I did look around when I first, we’re talking about quite a few years ago now, I did look around a bit at the time, I think I remember and nothing seemed to step up to the level that LSB was offering.

LSB: What did it feel like being a judge today at LSB?
BD: Going back today to be a judge at LSB after all these years was kind of weird. When I walked back in, I could smell the place again, I was like, it felt like I had only just left and it was years ago. So that was quite surreal and it’s good just to come back and see how far I’ve come personally, to the students who were brilliant, don’t get me wrong, they were brilliant. But it’s good to see what you can do, after you finish your course at LSB and so that’s what I quite enjoyed.

LSB: What did you think about the quality of the cuts you saw at LSB?
BD: The quality of the cuts that I saw from the senior class that I judged were.. I was even a bit like… woo their impressive, they’re really impressive. It was really hard to pick, I had to pick a winner and even that, I felt a bit like, how do I pick one? So they’re all good, a lot of them will go far. Like I said, if they put the hard work in, they’ll  take the basis they’ve learnt there and they’ll do well.

LSB: Tell us about LSB’s approach to training in a functioning barbershop?
BD: I think LSB’s  approach by using a barbershop environment is very clever. I think it gives the students no shocks when they leave. They’re already set up to know kind of slightly different, as every barber shop is slightly different, but the fundamentals of the barber shop environment are there from day one.

LSB: What do you think about the educators at LSB?
BD: The educators at LSB are as I remember them. There’s more of them because they’ve expanded, which is a great thing and the educators have gone from strength to strength and I think it’s got better as a whole.

LSB: How has studying at LSB shaped your career as a barber?
BD: In the salon that I have – Drewrys, I have myself and two other barbers. They were already in the barbering community, so we’ve just expanded them. I kind of taught them from what I learnt personally at LSB and I’ve passed on to them so it’s how did knock on effect for my business that I have took it in and passed it on, so that’s really benefited me as well. But, I do also have another member of staff who I will be taking on, who I’ve invested in and he is starting LSB on this Monday coming. So, it’s somewhere that I would happily put my staff in and I would happily provide an investment for my staff, knowing that they’re going to get the best training possible.

If you want to learn barbering as a new trade or you are in need of polishing up your current skills, go to our barbering courses pages to find the right course for you.

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